Roger Wood/CORBIS

Not as famous as Knossos or Phaistos, but perhaps more complex a site, is Mallia, located on a coastal plain in southern Crete. An offering table from the site is pictured. A sophisticated culture thrived at Mallia between 2000 and 1700 B.C.—the period of the first Cretan palaces. Though initially excavated in 1915 by a Greek archaeologist, Joseph Hazzidakis, Mallia has since been the domain of a series of French archaeologists of varying ability.